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Soulfly Rockharz 2015 05 (cropped).jpg
Soulfly performing at Rockharz Open Air in Germany, 2015
Background information
Origin Los Angeles, California, U.S. [1]
Years active1997–present [1]
Associated acts
Past members

Soulfly is an American heavy metal band formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1997. Soulfly is led by former Sepultura frontman Max Cavalera, who formed the band after he left the Brazilian group in 1996. To date the band has released eleven studio albums, one tour EP, twenty-three singles, one video album, and twelve music videos. Their debut album, Soulfly , was released on April 21, 1998, while their most recent album, Ritual , was released on October 19, 2018.


Soulfly incorporates many styles of metal with Brazilian tribal and world music, much like Cavalera's previous band Sepultura. The original lyrical content revolved around spirituality, political and religious themes, with later albums encompassing other themes including war, violence, aggression, slavery, hatred and anger. All of their first six studio albums debuted on the United States Billboard 200, with a peak position at number 32 for their second album, Primitive . [2] Soulfly has been certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. [3]

The band has gone through numerous line-up changes. Cavalera has been the only constant member while guitarist Marc Rizzo has however appeared on all but their first three albums.


Self-titled album and Primitive (1998–2001)

Soulfly was formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1997. [1] Max Cavalera was troubled during the recording of Soulfly's self-titled album, and on the band's website he said that he founded the band "with the idea of combined sounds and spiritual beliefs". As well as leaving Sepultura, one of the world's most renowned thrash/groove metal bands, he had to deal with the death of his stepson and best friend Dana Wells. The self-titled debut album was released in April 1998, [4] and reached number 79 on the Billboard 200. [5]

In addition to the core band, which at the time consisted of Lúcio Maia (Jackson Bandeira) on guitar, Cello Dias on bass, and Roy Mayorga on drums, Soulfly featured Burton C. Bell, Dino Cazares and Christian Olde Wolbers from Fear Factory, Fred Durst and DJ Lethal from Limp Bizkit, Chino Moreno from Deftones, Benji Webbe formerly of Welsh band Dub War and now a member of Skindred, Eric Bobo from Cypress Hill, Jorge do Peixe and Gilmar Bola Oito from Chico Science & Nação Zumbi, and Mario C. The album was recorded at Indigo Ranch Studios in Malibu, California, and was overseen by producer Ross Robinson.

In addition to fronting Soulfly, Cavalera also branched out into other areas not usually associated with heavy metal musicians. He became a speaker at music conventions, appearing at CMJ's New Music Marathon in New York and Holland's Crossing Border Festival, both in late 1997, and sang a TV commercial for Sprite in Brazil. After recording the first album, Jackson Bandeira returned to Brazil with Nação Zumbi and was replaced by Logan Mader of Machine Head for the live tour that followed. Soulfly played on the 1998 Ozzfest mainstage alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth, and Tool, and played small club tours around the world with bands such as System of a Down and Snot. After the world tour in support of Soulfly, Logan Mader was replaced by Mikey Doling who had just been displaced by the breakup of Snot.

A variety of influences, including nu metal, appeared on 2000s Primitive , and it was the most successful album by the band in the U.S., reaching number 32 on the Billboard 200 and number 11 on the independent charts. Joe Nunez, from Chicago, replaced Roy Mayorga on drums for Primitive. The album featured a number of guest appearances as well, including Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour, Sean Lennon, Chino Moreno of Deftones, Tom Araya of Slayer, Grady Avenell of Will Haven, Cutthroat Logic, Babatunde and Asha Rabouin and was produced by Toby Wright. In addition, artwork was created by longtime Bob Marley artist Neville Garrick. The release of the album was followed by world tours with the likes of Pantera, Morbid Angel and Ozzfest.

3, new line-up and Prophecy (2002–2004)

In late 2001, Joe Nunez left Soulfly to join Stripping the Pistol, saying that it was "time for [him] to move on". Roy Mayorga departed from his band Medication to rejoin Soulfly for the recording of their third album. 3 [6] was the first Soulfly album which was produced by Max Cavalera. Other musicians performing on 3 included Cristian Machado of Ill Niño, and guitarist Wiley Arnet and drummer Greg Hall, and Max's stepson Richie Cavalera. The album reached number 46 on the Billboard 200 in that year. After the release of 3 on June 25, 2002, Soulfly toured throughout Europe and North America with bands such as Slayer, In Flames, God Forbid, and Will Haven.

In September 2003, after the world tour for 3, Marcelo Dias was fired from the band, and Mikey Doling and Roy Mayorga both left the band in protest, leaving Cavalera as the sole remaining member for a period of three weeks.

Cavalera recruited a new lineup in October 2003 for the recording of Soulfly's Prophecy album. Joe Nunez returned on drums with New Jersey native Marc Rizzo, formerly of Ill Niño, on guitar and Kentucky native Bobby Burns, formerly of Primer 55, on bass. David Ellefson, formerly of Megadeth at the time, also played bass on several of the album's songs.

Max Cavalera explained on the band's website that he wanted to use different musicians as part of the group for each album. "This is an approach that I've wanted to do for a while. I never wanted Soulfly to be a band like Metallica, with the same four guys. On every Soulfly album, we've changed the line up and it will probably continue that way. In order to do that, I had to start from the inside out and bring in people who caught my attention, that I had never played with before, and create this." While a member of Sepultura, Cavalera had shown an interest in world music as shown in Roots , featuring elements of the music of Brazil's indigenous peoples. This approach continued on the Prophecy album, with Cavalera traveling to Serbia to record with traditional musicians. On the song "Moses", he worked with Serbian band Eyesburn, which also features reggae influences from one of his heroes, Bob Marley. Other tracks on the album feature instruments from the Middle Ages, sheepskin bagpipes, and Serbian Gypsies. Danny Marianino and Asha Rabouin returned as guest vocalists on Prophecy, as well, and Max Cavalera produced the album. Prophecy was released on March 30, 2004 and in April of that year had reached a peak of number 82 on the Billboard 200, although it has reached the top 50 of the Australian album charts. Soulfly followed the album release with tours supporting Black Sabbath and Morbid Angel.

In February 2005, Soulfly released their first DVD, entitled The Song Remains Insane. This was a biography of the band, containing live footage from all over the globe, interviews, and all of the band's music videos. In August 2005, Roadrunner Records reissued their self-titled first album as part of the label's 25th anniversary celebration.

Dark Ages (2005–2007)

In December 2004, as recording was beginning for Soulfly's fifth studio album, the band was rocked by several tragedies that affected the outcome of the album. On December 8, Max's friend "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott was shot to death while playing in Ohio, and on December 10, Cavalera's 8 month old grandson Moses unexpectedly died due to health complications. The following fall, on October 4, 2005, Dark Ages was released. Many critics have described Dark Ages as a return to Cavalera's thrash metal roots of the early Sepultura days; however, the world music influence found on the first four Soulfly albums is still present. In fact, this time, Cavalera traveled to five different countries Serbia, Turkey, Russia, France, and the United States in order to record all the sounds that he desired to have on the new album.

The core band on Dark Ages still consisted of Max Cavalera, Marc Rizzo, Joe Nunez, and Bobby Burns, and on this album, Dave Ellefson came back to lend his talents to a couple of tracks, Eyesburn vocalist Coyote sang on "Innerspirit", Stormtroopers of Death vocalist Billy Milano and Russian singer Paul Fillipenko of FAQ screamed on the hardcore influenced "Molotov", and Max's stepson, Ritchie Cavalera from Phoenix-based band Incite, sang on "Staystrong". Soulfly supported Dark Ages on a world tour with various bands such as Deftones, Korn, Throwdown, and Skindred that has stretched through North America, South America, Europe, Russia, and Australia. On August 17, 2006, Soulfly played the 10th Annual D-Low Memorial show with several guest artists including Dave Ellefson and Roy Mayorga, the latter of whom who currently plays with Stone Sour. Most notably, Max was reunited onstage for the first time in 10 years with his brother Igor Cavalera. Max and Igor formed Sepultura together in the early 1980s, but had not played together since Max's departure in 1997. Igor joined the band midway through the set for a jam on the drums and stayed onstage to play the Sepultura classics "Roots Bloody Roots" and "Attitude" on Joe Nunez's drum kit.

In the time between legs of Soulfly's world tour for Dark Ages and afterwards, members of Soulfly stayed extremely busy by focusing on projects and activities outside of the band. Max Cavalera guested on the Apocalyptica single "Repressed" with Bullet For My Valentine vocalist Matt Tuck during a visit to Germany, went to Russia in January 2007 to guest on the album Circus Dogs by Russian hardcore band FAQ and played on Saint-Petersbourg with Radiohead album sound producer Nike "Naik" Groshin, played a surprise jam session in Serbia with Dan Lilker of Brutal Truth and S.O.D., and spent time in Arizona writing for future releases. Marc Rizzo spent the year on the road throughout North America playing his solo flamenco-meets-shred metal, gaining him further recognition as one of the world's premier metal guitarists. Earlier in 2005 Marc had released his debut solo album, Colossal Myopia, through Shrapnel Records, and in 2007 he prepared his follow-up, The Ultimate Devotion, which has now been released. Bobby Burns purchased a studio in Orlando, Florida with his partner Tim Lau, revived his former band Primer 55, and worked on new releases for his Love Said No and King Street projects. In September 2006 Bobby suffered a mild stroke, was forced to sit out of Soulfly's North American tour, and his spot in the band was briefly filled by Dave Ellefson and Danny Lilker. Joe Nunez worked on the development of several drum accessories with Slug Drums, and taught drum lessons and worked construction in Chicago. Soulfly ventured to Undercity Recording Studios in March 2007 to record a cover of the Marilyn Manson single "The Beautiful People" with Logan Mader producing. The song was later released in June 2007 by Kerrang! magazine in issue 1164 as part of their Higher Voltage compilation. During time in the studio, Max Cavalera also recorded vocals for the song "War Is My Destiny" with Ill Bill and Immortal Technique for Ill Bill's second studio album, The Hour of Reprisal , which released on September 16, 2008.

Conquer and Omen (2008–2010)

In August 2007, Soulfly did a tour that consisted of a mixture of festival and club shows through Europe before playing the 11th Annual D-Low Memorial Show in Tempe, Arizona on August 31, 2007. Cavalera Conspiracy also made their debut live performance at the show by opening for Soulfly. One week after performing the show, Soulfly went to Bobby Burns and Tim Lau's newly renovated Porch Studio in Orlando, Florida to begin work on their sixth studio album, which Cavalera had begun writing during the summer. After working halfway through recording until September 29, Cavalera halted the session to travel throughout Egypt to record more sounds to integrate into the new songs. In November 2007, Cavalera returned to Orlando to complete tracking and the album was mixed by Andy Sneap in early 2008. The album featured collaborations Dave Peters from Throwdown and David Vincent from Morbid Angel.

Tony Campos performing in 2015 Soulfly @ 70000 tons of metal 2015 03.jpg
Tony Campos performing in 2015

Soulfly released their sixth album entitled Conquer on July 29, 2008. Following the release of the album, the band toured the United States with Devastation and Bleed the Sky in the fall, [7] toured Europe in winter of 2009 with Incite, [8] played a small UK and European festivals during the spring and summer of 2009, [9] and went on a fall 2009 U.S. headlining tour with Cattle Decapitation, Prong, and Mutiny Within. [10]

Soulfly entered the Edge of the Earth Studios in Los Angeles, California, on November 6, 2009 to begin recording their seventh album with Max Cavalera and Logan Mader both producing. [11] Through a series of streaming web video updates, frontman Max Cavalera revealed on November 13, 2009 that the album would be called Omen [12] and would feature guest appearances by Tommy Victor of Prong and Greg Puciato of The Dillinger Escape Plan. [13] Additionally, the album features performances on drums from Max's sons: Zyon Cavalera on a b-side cover of Sepultura's "Refuse-Resist" and Igor Cavalera (not to be confused with his brother of the same name) on a cover of Excel's "Your Life, My Life". Omen has been released worldwide on May 25, 2010. [14]

From May 13 – December 16, 2010, Soulfly conducted a world tour in support of their new album Omen.

On July 18, 2010, bassist Bobby Burns posted following message on his Twitter profile: "To all the fans... SOULFLY and I have decided to part ways. Stay tuned for my next projects already in the works. Thanks 4 ur support!!!"

Line up change, Enslaved and Savages (2011–2013)

On July 1, 2011, Soulfly announced that the group had recruited former Static-X and current Asesino, and then Prong, and Ministry bassist Tony Campos into the band, replacing Bobby Burns. [15]

In August 2011, Joe Nunez was replaced by Borknagar drummer David Kinkade. In September 2011, the band announced they entered the recording studio to make their next album due for an early 2012 release. In late October it was revealed that recording had finished, and Kinkade claimed that the new album is like " Arise on crack". Confirmed guests on the album were Adam Warren of Oceano and Dez Fafara of Coal Chamber and DevilDriver, [16] although Warren pulled out of recording and was replaced by Cattle Decapitation frontman Travis Ryan. [17] In the December 2011 issue of Metal Hammer, Cavalera stated that the main theme of the album would be slavery, with song titles "Slave", "Chains", "Legions" (a song about the Roman Empire), "Gladiator", "Redemption of Man by God" (featuring Dez Fafara), and "Revengeance" (with Max's 3 sons featuring: Zyon on drums, Richie on vocals and Igor writing half the guitar riffs). The album was produced by Zeuss with artwork from Marcelo Vasco, who has designed album artwork for bands such as Borknagar, Obituary, and Dimmu Borgir. On December 6, the album title was announced to be Enslaved and has a release date of March 13, 2012. [18] Soulfly performed at the 13th annual Gathering of the Juggalos in Cave-in-Rock, IL August 2012. Throughout 2012, Soulfly have headlined the "Maximum Cavalera Tour", supported by Incite (fronted by Richie Cavalera) and Lody Kong (featuring Igor Cavalera Jr. and Zyon Cavalera). In October 2012 Kinkade announced his retirement from drumming, leaving Soulfly after their show in Bangkok. [19] Max's son Zyon, who performed during the South America tour earlier in the year, will take over drums for the upcoming US tour and for the foreseeable future.

In April 2013 Max announced Soulfly's intention to record more material after their tour, with producer Terry Date, [20] and confirmed on May 3 that Zyon would perform drums on the album. In July Max announced that the album would be called Savages . [21] The band released the album on September 30 in the UK, October 1 in the US, and October 4 in Europe. Savages features a number of guest vocalists including Igor Cavalera Jr. of Lody Kong, Jamie Hanks of I Declare War, Neil Fallon of Clutch, and Mitch Harris of Napalm Death. [22]

Archangel and Ritual (2014–2019)

Marc Rizzo in 2015 Soulfly @ 70000 tons of metal 2015 09.jpg
Marc Rizzo in 2015

On December 6, 2014, Max Cavalera said through an interview that he started writing for the tenth Soulfly record. [23] Cavalera and his gang entered the studio on January 3, 2015. On May 1, bassist Tony Campos announced via his Facebook page that he was leaving Soulfly to join Fear Factory. [24] Archangel , produced by Matt Hyde, was released on August 14, 2015 through Nuclear Blast. [25] They embarked on the "We Sold Our Souls To Metal" tour on September 30, 2015 to promote the album. The tour was accompanied by the bands Soilwork, Decapitated and Shattered Sun. The tour lasted for a 27 show trek ending in Albuquerque, NM on October 30. They played at The Rockbar Theater in San Jose, CA on December 12, 2015. [26] [27] [28] [29]

In 2017, they toured North America with Cannabis Corpse, Harm's Way, Noisem and Lody Kong. In this tour, they played the Nailbomb album Point Blank in full, bringing Igor Jr. into the band as co-lead vocalist and keyboardist/sampler for the tour. After releasing his latest album with Cavalera Conspiracy, Max revealed his plans to finish writing and recording the next Soulfly album in early 2018, while also declaring his intentions to bring back some of the tribal elements from the band's early days to commemorate 20 years since Soulfly's self-titled debut album. A live album of their performance at 1998 Dynamo Open Air, entitled simply Live at Dynamo Open Air 1998, was released on June 22, 2018. [30]

Soulfly released their eleventh studio album, Ritual , on October 19, 2018. [31]

Upcoming twelfth studio album and departure of Marc Rizzo (2020–present)

In a June 2020 interview on Kazakhstan's "Armatura" podcast, Cavalera confirmed that he had been "writing some riffs" for the twelfth Soulfly album. He said, "I'm very inspired right now for riffs and music. I listen to a lot of heavy stuff. So I've been composing new Soulfly music, hopefully for next year. So I think next year we'll have a new Soulfly record." [32] In a May 2021 interview with Finland's Kaaos TV, Cavalera further reiterated the album's progress and confirmed that it will likely not be released before 2022: "We're just working on it. We're still just developing it. It's in the early stages of being recorded. We recorded some, and we have to record a little bit more. But we're just really taking our time." [33]

In August 2021, it was announced lead guitarist Marc Rizzo had left the band, [34] and that his replacement on the 2021 North American tour would be Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares. [35]

Musical style

Soulfly have been described as nu metal, [36] [37] [38] [39] thrash metal, [37] [40] groove metal, [39] [41] and death metal. [37] Soulfly originally played nu metal but moved away from the genre after the early 2000s. [37] Soulfly often incorporate elements of world music such as tribal music and Middle Eastern music into their music. [38] [40]

Band members

Current members
Current touring members


Concert tours


Related Research Articles


Sepultura is a Brazilian heavy metal band from Belo Horizonte. Formed in 1984 by brothers Max and Igor Cavalera, the band was a major force in the groove metal, thrash metal and death metal genres during the late 1980s and early 1990s, with their later experiments drawing influence from alternative metal, world music, nu metal, hardcore punk, and industrial metal. Sepultura has also been credited as one of the second wave of thrash metal acts from the late 1980s to early-to-mid-1990s, along with bands like Pantera, Testament, Sacred Reich, Dark Angel, Vio-lence, Forbidden, Death Angel, and Machine Head.

<i>Chaos A.D.</i> 1993 studio album by Sepultura

Chaos A.D. is the fifth studio album by Brazilian heavy metal band Sepultura, released in 1993, by Roadrunner Records. Although the album is considered thrash metal, it saw a stylistic departure from the band's earlier style, by incorporating a new groove metal sound. Chaos A.D. is also Sepultura's only album on Epic Records, who handled its release for North American distribution, as well as the first album to feature Paulo Jr. on bass after having played with the band in a live capacity for several years.

<i>Roots</i> (Sepultura album)

Roots is the sixth studio album by Brazilian metal band Sepultura. It was released in Europe on February 20, 1996 and in the U.S. three weeks later on March 12 by Roadrunner Records. It is the band's last studio album to feature founding member and vocalist/rhythm guitarist Max Cavalera.

<i>Soulfly</i> (album) 1998 studio album by Soulfly

Soulfly is the debut album by American metal band Soulfly, released on April 21, 1998 through Roadrunner Records. The record was released in memory of frontman Max Cavalera's deceased stepson and was the first album featuring Cavalera since leaving Sepultura two years prior. Both CDs have the message In Loving Memory Dana printed across them. The album has been certified gold by the RIAA.

Max Cavalera Brazilian musician

Massimiliano Antonio "Max" Cavalera is a Brazilian singer, guitarist, and songwriter who currently plays in heavy metal bands Soulfly, Cavalera Conspiracy, and Killer Be Killed. In 1984, he co-founded the death metal/thrash metal band Sepultura with his brother Igor Cavalera and was the band's lead singer and rhythm guitarist until 1996. Cavalera was also involved in a short-lived side project called Nailbomb.

<i>Prophecy</i> (Soulfly album) 2004 studio album by Soulfly

Prophecy is the fourth studio album by American metal band Soulfly, released in 2004. It is noteworthy for three guest artists – the completely different line-up for the album apart from leader Max Cavalera, the world music influence from a stint that Cavalera spent in Serbia, and explicit spirituality themes on the album. The album has gone on to sell over 275,000 copies.


Nailbomb was a heavy metal band formed in 1994 as a side project by Brazilian musician Max Cavalera of Sepultura, Cavalera Conspiracy and Soulfly, and English musician Alex Newport of Fudge Tunnel. The band recorded one studio album, Point Blank, and played two live performances before disbanding the next year.

Igor Cavalera Brazilian musician

Igor Graziano Cavalera is a Brazilian musician. He is best known as the former drummer for Brazilian heavy metal band Sepultura, which he co-founded with his brother Max in 1984. Max left the band in 1996, and Cavalera himself would depart ten years later, making him the last original member of Sepultura to leave the band. The brothers have since reunited in the band Cavalera Conspiracy.

Roy Mayorga American drummer

Roy Mayorga is an American musician and songwriter, best known as the drummer of heavy metal bands Hellyeah and Stone Sour.

Refuse/Resist 1994 song by Sepultura

Refuse/Resist is Sepultura's fourth single, released in 1993. The title song, also included as a single off the album Chaos A.D., is one of the band's best-known songs and remains a concert staple to this day. A music video was filmed for the single which features the band playing live at a festival intercut with footage of rioting and general unrest. This video can be found on the VHS Third World Chaos, which was later released on DVD as part of the Chaos DVD. The intro to the song is the heartbeat of Max Cavalera's then-unborn first son Zyon. This song is also notable for having a 20-second growl at the end.

Cavalera Conspiracy American heavy metal band, founded 2007

Cavalera Conspiracy is an American heavy metal supergroup founded by Brazilian brothers Max and Igor Cavalera (drums), currently performing along with American musicians Marc Rizzo and Tony Campos (bass). The band originally formed in 2007 as Inflikted but changed its name for legal reasons. The group's creation marked the end of a 10-year feud between the Cavalera brothers who founded Sepultura in the early 1980s.

<i>Inflikted</i> 2008 studio album by Cavalera Conspiracy

Inflikted is the debut studio album from Cavalera Conspiracy, the Cavalera brothers' first record together in 12 years - since the release of Roots by Sepultura in 1996.

<i>Omen</i> (Soulfly album) 2010 studio album by Soulfly

Omen is the seventh studio album from the metal band Soulfly. It was recorded in November 2009 and was released first in Japan on May 18, 2010 and on May 25, 2010 in other parts of the world. It was released on May 24, 2010 in parts of Europe. It is the last album to feature bassist Bobby Burns and drummer Joe Nunez who were replaced by Asesino frontman, Tony Campos and former Borknagar drummer David Kinkade in mid-2011. At just over forty and a half minutes, it is the band's second shortest album while the shortest being Archangel at thirty-six and a half minutes.

<i>Enslaved</i> (Soulfly album) 2012 studio album by Soulfly

Enslaved is the eighth studio album by American metal band Soulfly. It was recorded in fall 2011, mostly in Tallcat Studios in Phoenix, Arizona. Zeuss produced this album. This is the first album to feature Asesino frontman Tony Campos on bass, and the only album to feature former Borknagar drummer David Kinkade on drums, and the last studio album to be released through Roadrunner Records.

Incite (band)

Incite is an American groove metal band from Phoenix, Arizona formed in 2004. The band currently consists of Richie Cavalera (vocals), Christopher EL, Lennon Lopez (drums), and Eli Santana (guitar). Frontman Richie Cavalera is best known as the stepson of former Sepultura and Nailbomb, and current Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy frontman Max Cavalera.

Zyon Cavalera Brazilian American drummer

Zyon Cavalera is a Brazilian American drummer, best known as the son of ex-Sepultura frontman Max Cavalera and as the current drummer for Soulfly and Lody Kong.

<i>Savages</i> (Soulfly album) 2013 studio album by Soulfly

Savages is the ninth studio album by American metal group Soulfly, released on September 30, 2013. The album is the first to feature drummer Zyon Cavalera, frontman Max's son, in a full-time capacity after the departure of David Kinkade in 2012. The first single from the album, "Bloodshed" featuring Max's other son Igor, debuted on the BBC Radio 1 Rock Show on August 6, 2013.

Bloodshed (song) 2013 single by Soulfly featuring Igor Cavalera Jr.

"Bloodshed" is a Soulfly song, played as the first track of the Soulfly's Savages album. "Bloodshed" is the first Soulfly single released by the band's new label, Nuclear Blast. This song premiered on the BBC Radio 1 Rock Show on August 6, 2013, two days before single was officially released.

Lody Kong

Lody Kong is an American sludge metal band from Phoenix, Arizona, formed in 2011. The band is known for being led by brothers Igor and Zyon Cavalera, both sons of former Sepultura and current Soulfly frontman Max Cavalera. The band has been inactive since 2018.


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